Two things: GCT cancelling trip; and refund if traveler cancels trip.
We booked the Eastern Eur. to the Black Sea trip a while back, few years ago. About 3 days before departure, maybe a nearer a week before, we received a phone call that there was a traffic problem on the river due to accident, or something, and the entire "river" cruise would be by bus to Constanta over 900 miles. At the time I was in pain management for a painful neck and I felt that traveling by bus would be worse for my neck. I had ridden in a bus from Nuremburg to Prague and the bus was just an old school bus and no where to put luggage except in a roped off area in the back of the bus. I figured I wasn't going to get much better by bus, so to preserve the work already on my neck we cancelled the trip; Instead of getting a refund, however, we booked another trip. Any difference we either paid or we got a refund but not sure how it worked out. The same thing was for the Ukraine river cruise we paid for and GCT cancelled. We just booked another trip.
Second. Cancel a trip. We booked and paid for in August 2013 The Rivieras. At that time my husband was certain he could be comfortable on that trip. He has medical problems that cause him to have to stay on the ship or in the hotel until he is able to travel again.
A few months after paying for the trip, he seemed to get worse. We discussed this with his doctor and she encouraged him to travel, that after she gave him medication he would be okay. Later he did not do well on the medication and seemed to be getting worse. I called Grand Circle in late December or early January and discussed cancelling. One agent told me to contact Trip Mate (we did pay for travel protection), who immediately gave me a claim number and the form to be completed by the doctors and ourselves. We were using the cancellation due to sickness. We took the forms to our regular appointments with his primary and the specialist doctors. We explained the situation, and they agreed to complete the forms. We later mailed the forms we completed and what the doctors completed and also before mailing the forms, we formally cancelled the trip with GCT. Trip Mate told me Grand Circle would refund me the entire cost less the travel protection. The $600 for two cancellation fees would be paid by Trip Mate. When the adjuster reviewed the forms, they wrote us a letter and stated the doctors DID NOT give my husband permission to travel, but by the date they "diagnosed" the illness they in fact stated he could NOT travel. That wasn't the case at all. The form was not clear. They required the doctors to X a block to travel or not, yes or no, and a date.of the sickness The way the form was worded, the doctors both thought the date was to be the date of diagnosis, but not the date they recommended he not travel. In fact, we now know, the date should have been the date they both saw my husband on an appointment and discussed the cancellation, which date had to be later than the diagnosis date, and later than the fully paid trip date.
Therefore, Trip Mate actually told us we lied about the situation and would not refund the $600, that the doctor told my husband not to travel when diagnosed, but we booked and paid for a trip anyway. In order to appeal and get the doctors to sign new forms, as suggested by Trip Mate, we would have had to pay for two appointments to "have doctors sign papers". Since these would be more than $300, we just decided to forego the appeal and lose the $600. By this time we were pretty worn out with the paperwork and phone calls,and more doctors appointments. We don't have a warm and fuzzy feeling about this. Trip Mate said they wouldn't pay for the cancellation fees but GCT would give us a voucher for $600 to use within a year. Since most GCT trips are more than a week, we cannot travel longer than that, we will probably never use the voucher. I would if I could find a travel mate, but I don't want to go without someone I know. I'm not good on goiing out on my own. So, we are out the $600.
Just know what you are cancelling for and if you are required to complete the forms, make sure you understand the forms and terms.